From Melanie Hudson. Follow her at @champagne_me or Email her at melanie[AT]borderstan.com.
We like to think of ourselves as monogamous. Loyal. Committed. Once we find The One, we never so much as let our eyes wander. We invest a lot of hours into nurturing this relationship, and we wouldn’t think of messing it up with a cheap fling. We follow him as he bounces from place to place, as he becomes less available, as he demands more time and money, because we are devoted. He gets me, we think. He makes me feel gorgeous. He’s got such strong hands. He’s met my mother.
Ladies, forget about it. For a good time, you may need to cheat on your once-in-a-lifetime relationship and call someone new – someone who specializes in the kind of quickie you’re looking for: a really good blow out.
Why pay someone to wash, dry and flat iron or curl your hair, when it’s not time for a trim or color? Because they do it better than you do. Because you have somewhere important to be and you want to rock it. Because with someone new, you can experiment and try something totally different. Because they give you a mini scalp massage. Because it’s only a small indulgence, but it feels like a big one. Because you leave the salon feeling super gorgeous and confident. Isn’t that the point?
If you’re worried you might get caught, leave Borderstan and try Drybar (1825 Wisconsin Avenue NW; $40), the three-month-old Georgetown outpost of the trendy yellow-accented hair salon chain that focuses entirely on blow outs, up dos and styling. No cuts. No nails. No drama. Just a quick(ish), cheap(ish) hair fix in a very stylish space with really friendly people. This just feels better.
The stylists at Drybar have clearly spent a lot of hours perfecting the hair-dry experience, and it shows. You can choose your style from a photo album of cutsey-named options such as Mai Tai and Cosmo. You can order a drink and snack and watch Sex and the City in the background. You can throw a birthday party or bridal shower and buy a monthly package in advance. Best of all, there is one price no matter what kind of hair you have – no extra charge for thick, long or curly hair as other salons routinely do. It’s also easy – online booking! – and open as early as 7 am and as late as 9 pm on many days.
If the mixed reviews on Yelp (mostly about the longer-than-advertised 35 minute appointment time) leave you suspicious, try a blow out at a traditional salon in the neighborhood. Most are more expensive than Drybar, however. Here’s a short list of popular salons in Borderstan:
- Blondie’s Hair Studio: $40 and up (depending on hair thickness and length), 1910 18th Street NW.
- Cristophe: $40-65 (Charming stylist Phillipe is offering a $40 special; others are $65), 1125 18th Street NW.
- Immortal Beloved: $50, 1457 Church St NW.
- Mimosa: $40, 1706 Connecticut Ave NW.
- Salon Blu: $45 and up, 1339 14th Street NW.
Now, resolve to have an affair – just a little one – with a new stylist who works wonders with a high-quality blow dryer, curling iron, flat iron and styling stick, and at sometimes half the price of your regular haircut. Marvel at the patience it takes to methodically separate your hair into sections, drying each piece so deliberately. Sit in awe as even your frizzy mane turns silky smooth. Smile. Then, see how long you can wait before you go back for more – probably not long.
There’s no need to break up with your longtime love. Just find yourself a hair salon paramour. No matter what, you won’t be complaining about the blow out – it’s totally worth the cheat.
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For Borderstan‘s ongoing series on local entrepreneurs and retail businesses, we sat down with Salim Elalami, owner of Salon Rouge and former partner in the Subairi salon on R Street.
Elalami came to the United States from Casablanca, Morocco, as a teenager and attended the University of Maryland on a soccer scholarship. Unable to meet the additional costs of college life, Elalami went to work, starting as a busboy in Georgetown, working his way up to a bartender and eventually becoming part of restaurant management.
Next, Elalami enrolled in hair styling classes at a local academy, with the encouragement of a hairdresser friend. According to Elalami, he knew itt would be better hours than the long nights of bartending, which kept him working until 4 am.
After attending hair styling classes, he eventually worked for a salon on Connecticut Avenue and later opened Subairi with a business parnter in 2000. Almost a decade later, he opened Salon Rouge at 1636 17th Street NW.
Borderstan: What other jobs did you have before becoming a hair stylist?
Elalami: Not only did I work as a busboy and bartender in Georgetown, but I also taught tennis lessons while I was living in San Diego.